The chief talking points from the festival that never stands still
The dates are way off here. Primavera hasn’t only run for three hot nights for years. It starts earlier in the week, earlier in the month, earlier in the year, with fringe events and shows (that especially support local acts) covering increasing distance across the city of Barcelona. Or it definitely starts the night before, with a lineup that is free to all; the festival’s gift to the people of Barcelona for embracing this world event over the last 19 years, this year featuring a well-worth-your-no-money set from Justin Vernon’s and Aaron Dessner’s Big Red Machine.
And it doesn’t finish on the Saturday anymore either – there’re closing parties the following day, and probably closing closing parties after that. Primavera Sound has become huge and welcomingly endless, which applies to its 3 key nights too, because making the complete run from 5pm to 5am each day makes you something of a worry to your friends.
So how do you write about all that without it becoming unwelcomingly endless? This year we’ve decided to break the long weekend down into the instinctive headlines as we found them, from the seemingly trivial to the moment FKA Twigs did the splits upside down 10 feet up a pole at 3am.
We started by watching Stephen Malkmus give the weirdest talk of all time
Primavera Pro is the festival’s day conference, situated in the CCCB in the centre of town near the university. It can be an effort to get to when you’ve been up all night, but that’s not us yet and Stephen Malkmus is this year’s ‘10 Favs’ guest, showing his favourite 10 clips from cinema that utilise music. Should be fun. And it is fun. And weird.
Malkmus has both reinterpreted his brief and is completely underprepared for it. I suspect this because after his first clip plays (the intro to a totally groovy ’60s film called Mickey One) he turns to his film professor co-host and says, “What do you want me to say about that?”. It’s a sentiment that he echoes after almost every clip that he has chosen, and you should imagine him doing this in a turbo-charged Malkmus fashion, which is to say slack enough to constantly slump back into his chair and, at one point, yawn mid-sentence and completely ignore it. At one point he says, “I just chose this clip because I like the film.” Others don’t feature music.
Things become particularly hilarious (and more for the right reasons) as he slowly veers from the type of cult cinema that most of us were expecting into moralistic made-for-TV movies from the 1980s about teenagers shoplifting. The next natural step is not even a TV show but a meme that Malkmus might well have found on the Metro here, of Hulk Hogan playing rock guitar spliced with boomerang’d clips of Barak Obama dancing with Ellen Degeneres. To that one he says, “That was intense,” by which time he is at least being purposefully dry. Bringing it home, his final clip isn’t even a clip; it’s the audio from an old porno (“Pretty sexy stuff”). Twice he says to the room, “We’ve all got things to do today,” and yet I would definitely see this again.